The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 15, Number 13, March 25, 2012, Article 16


This week I received a copy of the Holabird-Kagin Americana western States Token auction catalog. The sale will be held March 30-31, 2012 at the WESTS Token jamboree in Sacramento, CA. Here are a few lots that caught my eye. -Editor

Lot 410: CA - Crescent City/County,1933 - Alakchick Clam Shell

Holabird Americana March 2012 sale Lot 410

2.5" X 3." Clamshell. Hand painted on underside of shell, 10c / Alakchik / Paid by / Ray Adsit-C.W.Nohl / Crescent City, Calif. / 3/10/33 / H.R. Adsit C. W. Nohl Top of shell is textured and brown with no writing. Both Crescent City and Pismo Beach used these clamshells as circulating currency when the Great Depression hit coastal California communities. Please see the Pismo Beach clamshell for more information. The U.S. Federal Census for Crescent City for 1930 lists Ray Adsit as a garage proprietor and Charles Nohl as an automotive repair clerk. Alakchick must have been the name of their garage.

Nohl was a German immigrant born at sea when his parents came to the U.S. and both Nohl and Adsit, although from different parts of the country, have WWII draft registration cards, which is perhaps where these business partners met. In 2009, Stephanie Simon wrote an article titled Cash-Strapped California's IOUs: Just the Latest Sub for Dollars; In the 1930s, Some Used Shells and Wood As Scrip; the Minneapolis Sauerkraut Note which was published on the Wall Street Journal website ( The article mentions the Crescent City Chamber of Commerce clamshells and values them at around $500 each. - Weber Collection

To view the complete lot listing, see:

Ya gotta love clamshell money. The sale includes multiple examples. -Editor

Lot 495: CA - Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo County - 1933 - California Market Clam Shell

Holabird-Kagin Americana March 2012 sale Lot 495

"When the Depression and resulting banking crisis hit their community, the residents of the coastal town of Pismo Beach, California picked an unusual but logical medium of exchange. The pismo is a species of clam with a very thick shell, then found in large numbers along the California coast and prized as a food. A town named after the bivalves suggests an adequate supply of their shells. Perhaps with tongue in cheek, the merchants and officials of Pismo Beach (who were often the same people) decided to make the best of a bad situation, and to make the humble clam shell into an object of trade. This they did. The Chamber of Commerce and no fewer than eleven merchants issued clamshell scrip. Each piece was numbered, and each piece was signed on the front and on the back. As with the stamp notes of the Midwest, it was necessary to sign each clamshell on the back in order to keep it in circulation. No formal requirements may have existed, but informal pressure certainly would have endorsed the practice.…. (The Clam shells were) intended partly as a real, if unique, circulating medium.…. Each piece was numbered, and each was signed on the front and on the back. This specimens are dated 1933. This was in the middle of Roosevelt's national banking holiday, and it is exactly the time when we might expect to see people take money into their own hands."

To view the complete lot listing, see:

Lot 584: CA - Stockton,Bohemian Club Good For Mirror

Holabird-Kagin Americana March 2012 sale Lot 584 A.Chiorini, Proprietor. Extremely Rare! Defined as an artist or writer who lives and acts free of regard for conventional rules and practices, since the 1850s the term "Bohemian" has been associated with journalists, reporters and newspapermen. California journalist Bret Harte first wrote as "The Bohemian" in The Golden Era in 1861. Mark Twain called himself and poet Charles Warren Stoddard bohemians in 1867. The original Bohemian Club was a men's club formed in San Francisco in 1872 for journalists, artists and musicians, and then eventually businessmen were also accepted into the fraternity.

QUICK QUIZ: Let's call this one "Name that Numismatic Nexus". In what physical location were both Mark Twain and Brete Harte likely to be found? -Editor

To view the complete lot listing, see:

Lot 1001: OR - Fort Dalles, c1860 - Fort Dalles Post Bakery

Holabird-Kagin Americana March 2012 sale Lot 1001 5.5mm x 3mm. Oregon Territory unlisted token "GF 1 Ration Bread." Black on red with border. Signature on reverse. - Vinegar Collection

QUICK QUIZ: What is the fleeting connection of Dalles, OR with U.S. numismatics? -Editor

To view the complete lot listing, see:

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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